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Coming into draft night the Atlanta Hawks had several questions to answer after shipping Jeff Teague to his hometown Pacers just a day earlier for the 12th pick. The move that helps Atlanta sign Horford and possibly bring back Bazemore. Atlanta struggled much of this season rebounding and taking care of the ball, with an undersized frontcourt and unsettling backcourt debate. However, just as detrimental as those deficiencies were, the lack of youth and athleticism were just as apparent.

 

Free agent Kent Bazemore was that youthful bright spot in the backcourt bringing energy, athleticism, intensity and shooting; but he will surely be sought after this summer and once again put the Hawks back in familiar predicament searching for a multidimensional asset at either the SG or SF position.

 

Despite how the draft unfolded, Hawks GM Wes Wilcox reassured importance of Kent Bazemore to this team.

 

Wilcox and Coach Mike Budenholzer elected to address those needs in this draft by selecting Taurean Prince (6’6) and DeAndre Bembry(6’8), Two hard working individuals that possess not only athleticism, but the ability to score in a variety of ways that fit the hawks system, qualities that were glaringly missing as LeBron and company swept their season away once again. As they’ve shown in the past, the possibility of losing their most versatile player (like demarre last summer) prompted their decision to draft these two in hopes they too embrace and flourish within Budenholzers developmental system like Bazemore.

Wilcox talks about the focus of this draft

 

Prince averaged 15 points (leading scorer) and 6 rebounds per game leading Baylor to the NCAA tournament, where they were upset in the first round by 12th seed Yale. His versatility fits right into the scheme coach Bud employs, he prefers players like Demarre Carroll and Thabo Sefolosha, who are interchangeable between either the 2 or 3 spot. Prince compares mostly to Demarre because of his 6”11 wingspan and lateral quickness that assist in his effectiveness as defender. Offensively, Prince may be limited somewhat as a ballhandler, but the ability to knock down the three point shot, mainly catch n shoot, was apparent in the loss versus Yale as he went 4-7 from beyond. Prince can contribute right away by being that high motor disrupter defensively and floor spreader offensively that we saw at Baylor. Despite his troubles creating opportunities for himself off the dribble right now; Budenholzer’s system doesn’t require that skillset from his wings, it highlights everything Prince is made of.

 

The A-10 Player of the Year, Deandre Bembry, provides the hawks with more playmaking, more versatility defensively along with a team-oriented mindset that coincides with Atlanta’s concept. Because of his ballhandling skills and quickness, he has a knack of finding the seams in defenses comfortably, thus creating opportunities for himself and others. In his final year as a St. Joseph Hawk, Bembry was only one of three players in the nation to average at least 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4 assist, Ben Simmons and Denzel Valentine were the others two.

 

“He’s a good Hawks fit. He can handle, he can pass, and he’s unselfish. He is an exceptionally great passer, said Wilcox.

 

Deandre talks about his versatility

 

Shooting currently is his biggest obstacle, consisting of his mechanics (slow release and shoots on the way down) shot selection and three point woes(just 26% last season). Luckily for him, Hawks shooting coach Ben Sullivan has done a remarkable job with Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha; but even more notably he played a large part in Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard’s development as shooters during his time in San Antonio. He will surely have his work cut out for him with Bembry as a shooter, but his all around game fits just right.

 Lets be honest, neither one of these guys were what many Hawks fans expected. But they are definitely what were needed.

 

“We are confident in the work we’ve done and the time we put in to this”, said a smiling Wes Wilcox post-draft.

The Atlanta Hawks won their sixth consecutive contest Saturday night, defeating the visiting New York Knicks 117-98. While Atlanta turned Philips Arena into the “Highlight Factory” for much of the second half, here are three spectacular plays that stand out above the rest.

 

Teague beats the buzzer.

 

Jeff Teague capped a resurgent Atlanta quarter with this beautiful buzzer beater to bring the Hawks within three heading into the half. For the game Teague finished with 17 points, four assists and two steals. This clutch pull up was Teague’s only 3-pointer of the night. Continue Reading…

Elton Brand isn’t what he used to be. A former year-in, year-out 20-10 option, Brand tore his Achilles in his last year with the Clippers, signed with Philadelphia, and never returned to the All-Star form he once had. This led to the former Duke product’s demise with the franchise as the 76ers eventually decided he would be their designated amnesty player. Elton then spent one year in Dallas, as they won the amnesty auction for a mere $2.1 million. Surely, he wasn’t the desired commodity he use to be.

However, for everything Elton Brand is no longer is at this point of his career, he isn’t necessarily a bad player overall. His contract is actually quite a bargain. Brand came to the Hawks this summer on a 1-year, $4 million dollar deal, and that fits perfectly into what the Hawks are trying to do in the organizational build standpoint. With Lucas Nogueira waiting to make the leap to the NBA, Elton is the perfect stop gap measure. The question comes down to what Brand can produce on the court at 34-years-old.

Spacing is a very buzz-worthy concept in the NBA today, and for good reason; you can’t maintain a strong offense if four defenders can defend any given shot by one of your offensive players. There is a need to use every corner of the floor. With Elton, he brings spacing in a different dimension than what first comes to mind. Paul Millsap and Al Horford prefer the left side of the floor for their mid-range shots — though Al is strong on most angles, just is slightly better left — and they will be able to stay in their comfortable domains whenever Brand comes on the floor. Elton shot 40-82 on the right side of the floor outside of the paint, and his 48.8% mark on that side of the floor is more than enough to be considered a green area (high efficiency) on Vorped. Meanwhile he shot 37.9% on attempts outside of the paint on the left. For reference on how Al Horford and Paul Millsap favored the left side in comparison to the right. Al shot 48.3% on the left-side and a still-manageable 40.8% on the right, while Paul shot 40.2% and 38.7% respectively. It’s worth mentioning that while Paul’s numbers from a strict left-side, right-side basis don’t look strong (thanks Utah’s offense!), he was absolute money on non-baseline shots on the left-side outside the paint. Millsap hit 55.3% of these shots, which ranks in the upper echelon around the league. Continue Reading…

When the Hawks signed 27 year old DeMarre Carroll, it came with very little noise. Which is fair. His NBA career has certainly been far from a path of stardom. Playing for four different NBA teams in his first three seasons, with a stint in the D-League somewhere in the middle, Carroll was certainly far from a difference maker for a franchise. There was change this past season though, as Carroll finally stuck to one team for the first time since his rookie year. It paid off too. Carroll soon gained the moniker “The Junkyard Dog” and became a maximum effort player seeing time for the Utah Jazz. This led to Atlanta snagging him away at a cool price of $5 million over two years. The question for many Hawks fans is this: what can he deliver?

What will likely be the most important factor to Carroll’s success in Atlanta will be his fit with the other pieces, and on paper, it looks good. Carroll’s weakness on the offensive side of the floor comes in the form of being a weak jumpshooter. DeMarre needs to be surrounded with floor spacers to make up for that, which luckily, the Hawks have plenty. On the defensive end, Carroll was statistically lackluster last year, but was also surrounded in a system defensively in Utah that was void of talent on that end of the floor. (besides Derrick Favors) Continue Reading…

Hawks After Game Three Win

Bo Churney —  April 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

Earlier, the Hawks posted their top ten plays for the 2012-13 season on their website. Here is the link.

I do have a criticism about this. As you can see from the number ten play, they were willing to include plays that did not count. (even though that dunk probably should have counted)

Essentially, if they are putting up things that didn’t count, where was this?

I mean… it’s Zaza making a 65-footer. How did that NOT make this list?